Cargill starts production of optimized stevia extract

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20 Mar 2018 --- Cargill has officially started producing EverSweet,  a zero-calorie, next-generation sweetener made with two of the best tasting sweet compounds found in the stevia leaf, Reb M and Reb D.

The food industry is often under attack when it comes to sugar and is actively looking for alternatives. There is also growing and linked consumer demand for natural ingredients. This too, demands a response. Food and beverage companies looking to satisfy consumers’ desire for healthier food choices now can offer this zero-calorie sweetener without sacrificing on taste.


As a whole, stevia has a solid hold on the food and beverage industry as it continues to appear in ingredient lists globally. As a strong competitor to many artificial sweeteners, stevia extracts appeal to today’s mindful consumer.


“Cargill has set a new benchmark for sweetness without calories with our EverSweet sweetener,” says Andrew Ohmes, global stevia business leader for Cargill. “Our goal has always been to address our customers’ needs to make lower-calorie products that taste great and are affordable to all.”

 

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Ohmes said: “With an increasing consumer focus on low-calorie, clean label products and a changing regulatory environment, a low-calorie, high-intensity sweetener option, like Cargill’s EverSweet sweetener, is now available to our customers to address these consumer needs.”


EverSweet sweetener is made with the identical, and sweetest, steviol glycosides found in the stevia leaf, Reb M and Reb D.  Reb M and Reb D, however, make up less than 1 percent of the actual leaf, making it prohibitively costly to obtain them from the stevia plant. It would take significantly more acres of land to produce enough Reb M and Reb D from leaf to supply the demands of the marketplace.


“Thus, the beauty of fermentation,” states Ohmes. “Fermentation allows Cargill to scale up EverSweet sweetener quickly and efficiently to meet the commercial needs of customers who are looking to create new classes of lower-calorie products that taste great and are affordable to all.”


“Our proprietary research continues to show that stevia resonates with consumers. We’ve found that consumers view stevia leaf extract as healthful and that it is an ingredient that will drive purchase interest on the pack,” he notes.


“Globally, clean label and sugar calorie reduction are the key trends that continue to drive product development efforts. Here in the US, more than three in four Americans report they are trying to avoid or limit their sugar intake, according to the 2017 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC),” says Ohmes. 


“However, while some consumers desire to reduce or avoid sugar and may gravitate toward familiar ingredients, taste is – and will remain – the single biggest driver of purchase intent. Zero-calorie stevia sweeteners are uniquely positioned to help formulators address these seemingly competing demands.”

 

Since the stevia plant produces only trace amounts of Reb M and Reb D, fermentation allows for large quantities of these most sought-after sweet compounds to be commercially produced in a more sustainable way. Cargill’s use of this fermentation process offers the flexibility to expand rapidly and cost-effectively as the demand for the EverSweet sweetener grows.


In addition to hitting this new production milestone, Cargill and Evolva reached a new agreement for the EverSweet sweetener, which replaces the existing agreements, and adds certain additional high-intensity sweeteners.


Evolva CEO Simon Waddington also said: “We are delighted that Cargill has started commercial production of EverSweet. We look forward to the next chapter in the exciting space of sweeteners.”


“Cargill is excited to bring EverSweet sweetener to the market,” adds Ohmes. “EverSweet sweetener provides healthier options to consumers whether our customers use it in beverages, dairy products or nutritional bars to name a few.”


Cargill continues to innovate in the sweetener space and often brings solutions to meet consumer needs. C*TruSweet Plus is a unique and inventive beverage solution. It is designed to reduce calories in beverages by 50 percent while maintaining great taste in an easy-to-use and affordable way.


“Evolving consumer preferences present an opportunity for new solutions and we are constantly expanding our product and service offering to meet these needs,” Frank Maus, Segment Manager Specialty Sweeteners EMEA explains to FoodIngredientsFirst.


FoodIngredientsFirst has reached out to Evolva for further comments.


It seems natural sweeteners, particularly stevia is a focal point of discussion in the food and beverage industry of late. Just last week, FoodIngredientsFirst published the report "Next-generation stevia: A new wave of extracts," you can read the article here.

 

By Elizabeth Green

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